Cirque de Supermom; the juggling act of newborn and toddler care with effortless ease.
As graceful as you might be settling into round two of motherhood, you only have one set of hands. You'll probably have daily reminders of how you only have one set of hands on deck when "juggling your baby and toddler" becomes more literal than you thought.
Preparing your older child for their sibling's big arrival beforehand can help set the scene for the adjustments to come. Talk to your little one about the new baby and all the things to expect from a day with baby. Telling them stories about when they were small can also help your older children better identify with your newborn.
Although it takes a fair amount of practice to get your child juggling down pat, we've got some tips and tricks from experience that might make the process easier for everyone involved.
Dinner and a Show
Nursing your newborn and entertaining your toddler is no easy task, but then again Evil Knievil's stunts weren't easy either. You might not be hurdling a motorcycle over the Grand Canyon, but nursing with one hand and keeping your toddler from getting antsy at the same time takes practice. It's also helpful to confine your little adventurer into one room so they can't run away and get into trouble while you're preoccupied.
Keep toddler toys, breastfeeding supplies, the remote and your phone within arm's reach and prop yourself up comfortably to support all that newborn weight one handed. Playing games like I-Spy or Simon Says is a hit with the kids and activities that include lots of pieces can keep them occupied until your baby is done eating. Keeping these toys and activities exclusive to nursing time will let your toddler know that nursing is important and you're rewarding all that patience and good behavior they're bringing to the table.
The Human Hammock
Don't underestimate the power of baby wearing. This keeps your baby comfortably swaddled where they can nap throughout the day and parents can have both hands free for toddler wrangling. Lots of carriers are comfortable to wear and offers some much needed back and shoulder support without restricting your mobility. Baby wearing can even help your newborn learn how to self soothe alongside the comforting scent, temperature and sound of their parent.
While there won't be much time to spare throughout the day, the precious few hours you might have during the weekend will make a big difference for convenient toddler meals throughout the week. Any prepared snack that you can grab and open with one hand or an arsenal of fully loaded sippy cups is heaven sent to the juggling mom. When you have a little extra weekend daylight, prepaing some quick dinners can spare you some extra time to catch up on things around the house or even a nap for mom while the kiddos snooze on theirs. Most importantly, when all else fails don't beat yourself up for calling in pizza after a long day.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, don't forget that you have your postpartum doula around to make the transition easier.
Your doula can scoop up your baby while you spend some time with your toddler or put your older child down for a nap while baby sleeps and you take a shower and fuel up with some lunch. Having the extra helping hand on board is a huge sigh of relief while parents adjust to their new responsibilities as a juggling main act.